Anna Claire had just turned six years old and was spending the summer with her grandparents before school started in the fall. She was small for her age and her honey-colored hair didn’t seem to match her almost ebony eyes nor did the faint sprinkle of freckles across her nose seem to fit her complexion.
Anna Claires’ grandma was a slightly built woman, who had never been seen without a hairnet and from dawn to dusk, always sported her pink, gingham-checked hand-made apron.
In contrast, Anna Claire’s grandpa was a tall, burly man with a shock of snow-white hair and eyes the color of a clear lake. She adored them both but had a special bond with her grandpa. He was a storyteller and she loved to hear him tell them.
She would crawl onto his lap and listen, mesmerized by his deep, deliberate voice that infused just the right lilt at just the right time. Sometimes, he told her stories of when her daddy was a little boy and she would often beg him for just one more.
He kept a little book by the lounge and anytime he heard or read something interesting, he would write it down and then he would tell Anna Claire the stories behind those words. From her grandpa, she had learned where the term sideburns came from.
She and her grandpa loved to play tricks on each other. She would hide his chewing tobacco and watch as he pulled the cushions up one by one, looking under them. He would eventually figure out what was going on and say “you little scamp, you. Where’d you put my chewin’ tobacco? I’m going to get right wrong with you here directly.” Anna Claire would giggle with delight as she said “tricked you, grandpa.”
He would in turn, play his own tricks. He would tell her to go out and get the washboard and the old tin pan because grandma needed to wash some clothes. The old tin pan was almost as big as she was and she had to drag it into the house.
When her grandma heard the racket and came in to see what was going on, grandpa was sitting on the lounge, laughing. Anna Claire would put her hands on her hips and say “grandpa! You tricked me!”
After they had a good laugh together, she would crawl onto his lap and say “grandpa, tell me story.”
“With a twinkle in his eye, grandpa said “okay. Let’s see. Did I ever tell you that there are such things as these little critters who live in the woods called snipes?”
“Snipes?” she asked. “Yep. If you get a poke and a stick and walk along hitting the poke with the stick, when the little snipes hear it, they will jump right into that poke,” he said with a grin.
“They will?” she asked with amazement. “They sure will,” he said “but there’s got to be coming a full moon that very night or you won’t catch nary a one.”
“Can you only catch them at nighttime when the moon’s out?” Anna Claire asked. “No,” he said. “You can catch them in the daytime but they only come out the day before a full moon.”
“Have you ever caught one?” Anna Claire asked. “Why law me yeah child, he said. “I’ve caught many a snipe in my day.”
“What did you do with them?” she asked. He said “I let them go. They’re not very big so you can’t eat them and they can’t milk cows or wash dishes so they’re not much count for anything.”
Can I try to catch one?” Anna Claire asked. “Why sure” grandpa said, “but I don’t expect there’s going to be a full moon tonight.” Anna Claire said “can I still try grandpa? Can I? Please, please, please?”
“I reckon,” he said. “Go in yonder and ask your grandma if she’ll let you have a poke and then I’ll go out and see if I can find you a stick.”
To be continued_____________________